Among candidates for state office, Kamala Harris is the only Democrat who's trailing in the polls. That means plenty of Democrats plan to split their ballots with a vote for moderate Republican Steve Cooley.
So in the closing week of the campaign, the Harris campaign is doing what it can to sharpen the partisan contrasts. And they're using a new independent ad, from the Republican State Leadership Committee, to link Cooley to Karl Rove.
The Republican State Leadership Committee has dumped more than $1 million into the ad. The committee is chaired by Ed Gillespie, the former chair of the RNC, and is linked to Karl Rove.
The Harris campaign is sending a letter to the state Fair Political Practices Commission complaining that the ad fails to disclose the top two donors to the committee: the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Altria (formerly Philip Morris). Harris will also be sending a letter to Steve Cooley, asking him to denounce the ad. (Don't hold your breath.)
“We're asking Steve Cooley to let his friends, Ed Gillespie and Karl Rove, know they should pull them down,” said Ace Smith, Harris' strategist.
The Harris campaign also plans to make a big deal of the RSLC's donors, which include tobacco, oil, and pharmaceutical companies.
“We're going to be shouting from the rooftops that Steve Cooley's campaign is financed by oil companies and tobacco companies,” Smith said.
Cooley's spokesman has said that the campaign was unaware that the RSLC would be getting involved in the race, and that Cooley has no control over the actions of independent groups.